Governance is difficult to define but is easier to recognize in practice.
According to Investopedia, corporate governance is the structure of rules, practices, and processes used to direct and manage a company.
The purpose of corporate governance is to facilitate effective and prudent management that can deliver the long-term success of an organization.
If you asked any stakeholder within football in Uganda about the games’ biggest needs, 99% would give answers rotating around money in the form of funding from sponsors and the government.
To us, the success of football organizations starts with having money.
Every time that we need to solve a football-related problem, discussions rotate around acquiring money from sponsors yet, the lack of money or abundance of money on its own does not guarantee the failure or success of a football organization.
How many times has a new football club in Uganda started with a lot of public attention and funding only to fade and disappear without a trace? Countless times.
In 1992, a football club in Uganda sold a player directly to a football club in France for an estimated $180,000 yet 18 years later, the club doesn’t have a training ground, no website, and currently relies on cash handouts from well-wishers to survive.
That is a clear example that the lack of money is not a problem for football organizations in Uganda.
Football rotates around three arms of governance, sporting, and business.
Every activity that you observe within the game belongs to one of those three areas.
Of the three arms of football, governance is key to have good business and sporting activities of any football organization, without good governance, the business and sporting arms of any football organization would struggle to develop or wouldn’t be sustainable.
For any football organization to have sustainable success in the sporting and business arms of football, it needs to start with the practice of good governance.
The first step of good governance in football organizations is the separation of powers, responsibilities, and roles.
The owners or members of the football organization should appoint or vote the chairperson or president of the board/executive committee who will then appoint other members of the board/executive committee.
The board/executive committee appoints a CEO to head the day-to-day operations of the football organization.
The owners or members, board/executive committee, and management of the football organization should have powers, responsibilities, and roles that are documented and separate from each other.
Some of the simple governance checklist questions for the majority of football organizations in Uganda are;
Who are the owners?
Are board/executive committee members trained to perform board roles?
Does the football organization have documented policies, procedures, and a constitution?
Are decisions and policies quickly and effectively communicated?
Do all members of the football organization have documented role descriptions, clear objectives, and regular appraisals?
Do board members, management, and staff attend regular and collective training sessions to ensure individual and organizational development?
Are core competencies for each position documented and positions filled with competent individuals?
Football organizations in Uganda need to adopt the practice of good governance because it creates an environment of efficiency.
Although football operates in a different environment, football organizations in Uganda need to benchmark against some of the best performing corporate companies in Uganda because they have managed to show that corporate governance is indeed the foundation to successful sustainability.